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It is often said that “life is full of ups and downs”. And when considering the nations view of the state of the economy, this saying has never been more accurate. Apparently, the roller coaster ride continues. Thankfully, it would appear is if this week, Canada is on an “up” as reported by Julian Beltrame of The Canadian Press.
While Beltrame asserts that the global recession continues to negatively impact Canadian businesses, the Bank of Canada is indicating that most companies appear to be more optimistic than they were three months ago. While not overly ecstatic news, the banks most recent quarterly survey of 100 selected firms found that feelings were moderately improving. Beltrame reminds that three months ago, the results of the winter survey fell to its lowest level since its 1997 inception. The most recent survey took place in February and March.
The news, of course, is not all rosy. Beltrame notes that Canadian businesses still maintain unenthusiastic sentiments towards such issues as credit conditions, investment intentions, product pricing and sales volumes. Most firms are still anticipating a continued decline in sales over the next year. As a result, the tightening of lending conditions will also continue according to the Bank of Canadas survey of senior loan officers.
Such a situation is naturally consistent with a global recession, however. BMO Capital Markets Economist, Douglas Porter notes that during the first quarter of 2009, Canada probably experienced its worst economic contraction in more than 50 years.
Job losses remain a major dilemma in Canada. Beltrame writes that over 270,000 jobs were lost in the first three months of 2009. If it can be considered positive news, surveys are reporting that firms believe that employment levels will, at least, plateau over the course of the coming year. Sadly, this makes evident that hiring intentions are weaker than what was indicated in previous reports.
No matter what, the nation remains resilient. The roller coaster ride that is the national economy is far from over. Hopefully, future surveys will continue to show more optimism. In the meantime, the country braces for more ups and downs. If only this roller coaster ride was actually as fun as the real thing.